Different Jobs in Education

Updated July 20, 2017

When people think of education jobs, their thoughts generally turn to teaching positions. But there are many types of jobs in the school system. Each job, whether in k-12 schools (kindergarten to grade 12) or higher education (colleges and universities), requires specific skills and qualifications. You may already be qualified for some positions, but you may need additional certification for others.


Teachers in k-12 schools are licensed for specific authorisation levels and endorsements. Authorisation levels include elementary, mid-level and high school. Teachers can earn the following endorsements: multiple subject, language arts, social studies, foreign language, math, science (integrated, biology, physics and chemistry require separate endorsements), technology, business, drama, music, speech, special education, physical education and health. A teacher may be licensed in multiple authorisation levels and endorsements. The requirements for a license are different in each state, but often include subject area testing, teacher training programs and a master's degree in education or teaching. Some private schools do not require teachers to be licensed by the state. A teacher's duties can include planning lessons, measuring student learning through assessment, issuing grades and managing student behaviour in the classroom.


Para-educators, or educational assistants, work with students in the special education program. Some para-educators are assigned to specific students; others work with small groups. Para-educators may accompany students who have special needs in the regular education classroom, or they may work with students in a resource room. The duties of a para-educator include assisting students to comprehend material, helping students develop skills and managing student behaviour. Some schools require para-educators to receive training and certification from the state. Other schools provide training.

School Administrators

Each k-12 school has at least one administrator. Schools with large student populations generally have more. Some administrative positions include principal, vice principal, dean of students, athletic director and counsellor. A principal's responsibilities include reporting to the school board, managing the school budget, overseeing daily operations of the school and hiring teachers and staff. A vice principal or dean of students is generally responsible for student discipline, attendance and other student body issues. An athletic director hires coaches and schedules sporting events. A counsellor schedules classes, assists students with career planning and helps with conflict resolution. Each administrative position requires some type of certification and licensing. In small or rural schools, the duties of school administrators are sometimes performed by a licensed teacher. Private schools may have different qualifications for administrative positions as well.

District Administrators

Administrators at the district level run the business side of the school. These positions include the superintendent and directors of finance, transportation, maintenance, technology and others. A superintendent hires principals for schools in the district, oversees federal and state programs, monitors district test scores, reviews the budget and advises the school board. This position usually requires an administrative license. For a finance director, the duties include managing the budget. A transportation director handles busing. A maintenance director ensures school buildings and grounds are safe, and the technology director services district hardware and software. Requirements for these positions may vary, but applicants must be specialists in their field.

Classified Employees

School secretaries, bus drivers, custodians and cooks are all considered classified employees. Each of these positions comes with unique duties. Secretaries organise attendance information, building use permits and substitute teachers. Bus drivers are responsible for picking up children on their route and delivering them safely to school. Custodians keep classrooms and school grounds sanitary, and cooks prepare food that is served in the cafeteria. This category can also include classroom aides, hall monitors and other office staff. Classified positions generally do not require specific certification or licensing.

Higher Education

There are a variety of jobs in institutions of higher education, many of which mirror the jobs available in k-12 schools. However, the qualifications for many of the positions are different. Unlike k-12 teachers, college professors must be specialists who possess a master's or doctorate degree in their particular field. Additional certification and licensing are not generally required, but many colleges and universities require professors to make significant contributions to their field by publishing work or being active in scholarly societies.

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About the Author

Cindy Dauer has been a journalist since 2004. Her articles have appeared in "Valley Parent Magazine," "Willamette Valley Life" and the "Cannon Beach Gazette." Dauer is also a coach, educator and fitness enthusiast. She has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from San Francisco State University.